Sunday, June 19, 2011

Miles and Oceans Apart

Our arms were tired after canoeing the 10 mile trek with our friend Rina.  The hot sun beat down while a cool breeze blew across the river.  We spent the day drifting from laughter to deep conversation to peaceful silence to singing together, our three voices blending, "Oh how He loves".  We floated back to laughter again as we recalled Rina's translation of Jesus riding in on a "monkey" rather than "donkey" during the German church service yesterday.  No wonder she had to hold in her laughter as we sat in the back of the sanctuary - she translated the wrong word and then pictured it happening that way!  With the exception of that single word, we were amazed at how well Rina translated the entire sermon for us.

We had taken the train eight hours from Prague to Germany where Rina stood on the platform to pick us up.  The journey flew by as we anticipated seeing our friend again.  This was the first time either of us has been to Germany and we loved how beautiful the countryside is.  Rina's village, set in a valley, is home to 800 people.  Rina was the perfect hostess and we were sad when our days in her family's German home ended.  She has a heart for people and I know she has an amazing life ahead of her.  It is wonderful to meet kindred spirits as we continue this journey and I love that our hearts are connected even though miles and oceans separate us.

The next train ride across Germany was an adventure.  One of our connections was only three minutes.  In our anticipation to ensure that we made the connection, Matthew and I eagerly hopped off the train ready to run across the platform to find the next train when a kind German guy helped us realize we had gotten off the train one stop too early!  We ran back and hopped on the train, thankful it had not departed yet, and then were able to get off at the correct stop to make the three minute connection!

At the end of the track was Kaiserslautern, Germany, home to our dear friends Lou and Cathy.  I am continually amazed at how God brought Cathy into my life over eight years ago.  If you want to know the story, you can ask me about it next time you see me.  Lou and Cathy moved from their home in Colorado to run a hospitality house for Cadence International in Germany.  The house is open weekly for military families serving overseas to have a place to recieve a warm welcome, have a home cooked hot meal, and be a part of a community.  Every week the house opens for a Friday night dinner, where up to 70 people attend including couples, single people, and families.  They partake in a meal, listen to Lou teach, and hang out sometimes even for hours talking and living life together.  Lou and Cathy also lead smaller group Bible and book studies and meet with people one on one during the week for more discipleship.  They are continually giving and pouring into the lives of the military men, women, and families living overseas.

We spent a week living alongside Lou and Cathy, observing their ministry, meeting their people.  Our precious friend Jenny was also there which was very special to have that time together.  Jenny has been living in Uganda for the last five months and crossed over with us in Germany on her way back to the States.  Lou took Matthew, Jenny, and me for a two day excursion across Germany.  The first day, we visited a concentration camp which was quite an intense experience (more on that in the next post).  After that, we spent the night in a quaint little city called Rothenburg which was untouched by the world wars.  In the evening, there is a tour by an actor called, "The Night Watchman Tour" where he walks you down the cobblestone streets detailing the history of the city in quite a humerous way.  The city has a wall around it and the next morning was spent overlooking the city as we walked along the wall. 

That evening, Lou was taking the three of us to a Christian Music Festival where three of the performances were by Americans Kutless, Toby Mac, and Chris Tomlin, along with other German bands.  We thought many people there would be Americans since they had three American artists and were surprised to feel like we were some of the few Americans in attendance.  There were thousands of people with standing room only and our hearts were stirred to see the passion with which the Germans were singing as they knew every word to practically every song.  It was incredible.
We are so thankful for Lou and Cathy's hospitality...not only for the 10 days we spent with them, but for the past eight years that they have loved on us.  Once again, dear friends separated by miles and oceans yet united in love and purpose.

Our next stop...Paris!  More to come in future blog posts...

No comments:

Post a Comment